When you’re styling your hair with heat, you want to know that you’re using a trustworthy product. Some of us learn this the hard way, frying our ends with red-hot flat irons or wasting a whole morning on curls that won’t hold their shape. But when you find the right hair straightener, it may quickly become your most versatile styling tool. No matter your hair type, the best straighteners can help you create anything from sleek, straight hair to beach-goddess waves to ringlet curls. So to help you find the right hair straightener (and to save you from the wrong ones) we spoke to eight salon owners, hairdressers, and session stylists. These are the hair straighteners that they swear by, from budget options through to salon-quality, luxury stylers.
Best overall hair straightener
ghd are synonymous with hair straighteners — 20 years ago, when there were few straighteners on the market, the U.K. brand began to revolutionise hair straightener design with their rounded barrels and steady 185-degree temperature. They claim to be the first brand that brought salon-quality styling into people’s homes. It’s no surprise, then, that ghd was included among nearly every expert’s recommendations. The most popular option was the ghd platinum+ — ghd’s most sophisticated straightener — which was a top choice for four stylists. “The platinum+ straighteners are super innovative,” says Stefan Bertin, a London-based session stylist. “The ceramic plates are able to sense how thick the hair being straightened is and they heat up accordingly.” Like all ghd straighteners, the platinum+ is set at a temperature of 185 degrees, “the ultimate temp for controlling hair” according to Sam Burnett, creative director and owner of Hare & Bone in London (and one of Dua Lipa’s regular stylists). He says the reason for the platinum+’s effectiveness is ghd’s ‘ultra-zone technology, which “means the temperature of the plates stay consistent during use. This limits damage and reduces colour fade.” Jamie Hill — founder of the Jamie Hill Salon in Swansea — agrees that the consistency is terrific and the technology is legitimate: In fact, it’s backed by microelectronics research from Cambridge. But the platinum+ has even more benefits: According to Becky Cole, a manager and stylist at ESHK Hair in London, it can’t be beaten for either efficiency or longevity: “The platinum+ smoothes the most unruly hair in one pass of the straightener — no need to go over the hair twice. Plus ghd just never quits! Mine lasts three to four years with everyday use in the salon, and my clients have ones that last eight to ten years, so a fabulous investment!” Each of the experts also mention the platinum+’s smooth plates and rounded barrel, which they say makes it perfect for sleek waves and curls. They recommend it for all styles and hair types.
Best (less expensive) hair straightener
The ghd original was another clear favourite for our experts, as it offers the reliability and quality that ghd are known for, but for a significantly lower price than the platinum+. Meg Liu, co-founder of ESHK Hair in London and Berlin, calls the ghd original an “industry standard.” It’s also her “long-time favourite” to use on her own hair as well as her clients’. For Meg, the best thing about ghd straighteners is their build quality: In her words, “the iron plate is so smooth that your hair doesn’t suffer, regardless of style.” She likes the ghd original because of the shape and simplicity, and adds that the “lovely grip fits your hand perfectly,” making the straightener a natural extension of her hands, so easy to handle that it feels like styling hair with her fingers.
Best budget hair straightener
For a great hair straightener that’s not too pricey, Becky Cole recommends the Remington Keratin Protect. (Remington also makes several of the top-rated hair straighteners on Amazon.) Becky likes this model because it’s “kind to your hair and your wallet.” The name comes from the fact that the plates are infused with keratin oils — according to Becky, this gives your hair an extra smooth finish. She also likes how customisable the straightener is, as it has five different heat settings (from 160 to 230 degrees) and a “magic” heat-protection system, which automatically measures the moisture in your hair and sets the heat accordingly. Becky suggests the Keratin Protect as a particularly good option for people with finer hair, given its good lower temperature options, which can help you preserve your hair’s health in the long run.
Best hair straightener for dry or textured hair
If you have textured hair, Stefan Bertin recommends the Dyson Corrale straightener. He says the straightener works terrifically due to Dyson’s ‘flexing plate’ technology, which moulds around sections of hair to gather it together quickly and uniformly. “It’s perfect for naturally dry, textured hair,” says Stefan, as “the plates gather hair neatly together on each pass, meaning you get gorgeous styles and sleekness with less damage, frizz and flyaways, at a lower temperature.” The Corrale has three temperature settings (from 165 to 210 degrees) and claims to halve the amount of thermal damage that heat styling can cause. Stefan also loves the Corrale because it can be used with or without a cord. “Every straightener I’ve ever used that’s cordless has been a bit rubbish, but these work perfectly plugged in or not.”
Best (less expensive) straightener for dry or textured hair
If you’re not yet ready to invest in the Dyson, Stefan also recommends the Original Iron from Cloud Nine — an industry favourite, according to several of our experts. In Stefan’s words, “the Cloud Nine irons are great because they have ceramic plates that are infused with minerals, meaning that you can achieve amazing shine. They also float, meaning there are cushions supporting the plates’ movement, preventing any snagging or pulling.” Jamie Hill and Leigh Keates — a London-based hairdresser and founder of Thalassophy — are also fans of the Cloud Nine. For all three stylists, temperature control is a big benefit. “There are five settings between 100 and 200 degrees,” Stefan says, “so if you have more coarse hair, you can up the ante if you choose to.” But he adds that the wide temperature range means it’s an equally great option for people with fine hair or hair that’s susceptible to heat damage. Apparently, like the Dyson, the Cloud Nine is also great for efficient straightening. In Leigh’s words, “The plate technology ensures even and consistent heat, which means you only need to glide the iron through your hair once.”
Best wide-plate straightener
Cloud Nine also makes a wide-plate straightener, which is a personal favorite of Meg Liu. She describes the straightener as very wide and solid. “You can work on more hair in one stroke,” she says. “This is especially useful if you always find yourself needing to get the job done five to ten mins before leaving the house, like I do!” She is always recommending it to friends and clients for this reason. Plus, unlike many wide-plate straighteners, the Wide Iron has rounded edges. According to Meg, this makes the straightener a fantastic option for quick curling, with none of the “zigzag” side-effects you get from rectangular-barreled straighteners.
Best hair straightener for a glossy finish
If shine is your biggest priority, Phil Smith — the director and owner of Wiltshire’s Smith England — recommends this model from label.m. For Phil, it offers all of the benefits of the other straighteners on this list, like heat control and floating plates, which ensure that the straightener doesn’t pull or snag hair. But he’s a particular fan of label.m’s “advanced titanium technology,” which claims to improve hair’s smoothness and sleekness, and according to Phil, gives really high gloss results. As an added bonus, he says the straightener has a particularly good grip, giving you more controlled styling with less effort.
Best straightener for thick or unruly hair
According to Louise Reynolds, a senior stylist at Cowboys & Angels in Dublin, “the only hair straightener I would ever recommend or use is the ghd.” She says the large-plate model — the ghd max — is her “absolute favourite” in their range. “It can tackle the thickest, most unruly hair without damage and leave it feeling silky smooth.” The contoured plates are two inches wide, so they’re intended to save you time and energy when you’re styling very long, thick or frizzy hair.
Best hair straightener for short hair
“This straightener is perfect for precision styling, short hairstyles, and fringes.” That’s Phil Smith’s take on the ghd mini, the smallest straightener in the ghd range, which has half-inch plates. Despite the smaller barrel size, this straightener offers the same features and power as the ghd original, and makes it easier to style close to the root of the hair or to get tighter spirals in your curls. According to Phil, “It gives even heat distribution and is versatile, making tight curls, waves or smooth styles easy to create.” Phil also likes that — like all ghds — the straightener has a constant temperature of 185 degrees, meaning it’s “kind to the hair,” even if you take your time crafting those ringlets.
Best cordless straightener
A cordless straightener can give you extra flexibility while you perfect your curls or style the back of your hair. For two of our experts, the BaByliss 9000 is the first great cordless straightener that they’ve encountered. “Finally a high performance cordless straightener!” says Leigh Keates. “I’ve tried other cordless irons in the past, and found them either too heavy or the heat plates aren’t efficient enough, and you have to glide over the same section two or three times. The Babyliss 9000 has fixed all those problems.” Sam Burnett is similarly complimentary about the straightener’s build and effectiveness — “I’m so impressed with this styler,” he tells me. He loves the convenience and ease of cordless operation, and adds that “the curved barrel and floating ceramic plates allows you to create sleek, straight hair, waves and curls effortlessly.” Plus, it’s jetsetter friendly: The universal voltage and interchangeable charging adapter allow him to use the BaByliss anywhere in the world.
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